Myth 3: people who get disability-related payments for their children are scroungers

"I've not known hate like I've experienced in the past three years. The media stirring hasn't helped." Mumsnetter GobbySadcase

Estimated overpayments of DLA due to fraud make up 0.5% of total spending (£60m). Overpayments due to official error – in other words mistakes by the government - are higher, at 0.8% (£100 million). (Source: DWP)

DLA/PIPs are NOT out-of-work benefits, and can be claimed by parents or carers on behalf of their child. They are to help with the extra costs families face as a result of disability. It doesn't make a difference if someone has a job or not. (Source: Mencap)

It is much more likely that disabled people are not claiming the benefits they need. RADAR estimates that more than £7 billion in benefits, tax credits and grants is unclaimed every year. (Source: Radar)

  • It's estimated that 50% of families do not claim the DLA to which they are likely to be entitled.
  • Over half of all new DLA claims are denied. (Source: Hansard)
  • 84% of DLA/PIP decisions use additional evidence from GPs, consultants, hospitals or medical assessment. (Source: Department of Work and Pensions. DLA Award Values and Evidence Use for New Claims in 2010, in Great Britain. November 2011)

Parents and carers can feel branded as work-shy scroungers for claiming vital benefits for their child. They report an escalating climate of hostility, which can leave them feeling ashamed about getting the help they are entitled to.

"I am fed up with people accusing me of making my son's disability up. Some even go as far as to accuse us of having a wheel-chair not because he needs it, but so I can scrounge off decent people. The negative comments and hostility have got a thousand times worse in my experience. What they don't understand is how dependent the state is on us carers, not us on them." (Source: Contact A Family

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August 2013

Last updated: 5 months ago